Structural Assessment of Fort Sumter Masonry Coastal Fortification Subject to Foundation Settlements

Sez Atamturktur, Saurabh Prabhu, Rick Dorrance

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


In historic unreinforced masonry structures, one of the most critical structural issues is the differential settlement of foundations. Due to unreinforced masonry's brittle nature with a fairly low tensile strength, brittle cracking can occur due to tensile stresses introduced by foundation settlements. This study demonstrates the development and calibration of a finite element model and the use of this model for structural analysis under differential settlements of a casemate of Fort Sumter, a masonry coastal fortification best known as the site where the first shots of The American Civil War were fired in 1861. Development of accurate finite element models for historic masonry structures presents numerous challenges in the acquisition of non-linear material properties, and irregular geometry. Furthermore, these challenges are exacerbated because of the configuration of coastal fortifications, as these structures have characteristic designs unique to the distinct functionality of defense, such as cold-joints between disjointed structural components. The non-linear material behavior of the brick and mortar assembly is obtained from laboratory tests on samples obtained at the site. High definition laser scanning is used on irregular geometry to obtain the details of accumulated structural damage and degradation, including differential foundation settlements. The uncertain interface behavior at the cold joint between the scarp wall and the casemate of the fort is assessed using in-situ vibration tests. The finite element model developed is utilized to study the settlement magnitudes critical to the stability of the casemates of Fort Sumter for a variety of possible soil settlement configurations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTopics in Dynamics of Civil Structures - Proceedings of the 31st IMAC, A Conference on Structural Dynamics, 2013
Number of pages13
StatePublished - 2013
Event31st International Modal Analysis Conference on Structural Dynamics, IMAC 2013 - Garden Grove, CA, United States
Duration: Feb 11 2013Feb 14 2013

Publication series

NameConference Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Mechanics Series
ISSN (Print)2191-5644
ISSN (Electronic)2191-5652


Other31st International Modal Analysis Conference on Structural Dynamics, IMAC 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityGarden Grove, CA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering
  • Computational Mechanics
  • Mechanical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Structural Assessment of Fort Sumter Masonry Coastal Fortification Subject to Foundation Settlements'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this